In 2018, the Don Harrington Discovery Center (DHDC), TxDOT, the City of Amarillo, and more celebrate 150 years since the discovery of helium.
The contents of a time capsule buried 50 years ago at the Helium Centennial Time Columns Monument in Jack B. Kelley Plaza were revealed on Saturday, Sept. 29 to honor the scientific advances that affect our day-to-day lives.
The theme of the newly-opened 1968 time capsule is “Industry and its Use of Natural Resources,” something the people of Amarillo can attest to with helium.
“It really is exciting the Amarilloans come out and acknowledge the importance of helium and being the helium capitol of the world,” Sam Burton, Field Manager of Amarillo Bureau of Land Management. “A lot of folks know us for, you know, balloons and the gas that makes your voice sound funny, but knowing and learning that the helium is so much more important really should give a sense of pride to everyone who lives in this area that’s part of this Amarillo community that makes helium and produces it for global uses.”
Although the Amarillo Helium Plant has long been closed, the monument and time capsule memorabilia are intended to serve as reminders to future generations that natural resources should be conserved and used wisely.
“…One thing is to sort of look at the past and see where we are at the present and also sort of what we will do in the future,” said Dr. Aaron Pan, Executive Director of DHDC. “Everything that goes in will be from basically story of 2018. What is life like right now? What are our hopes or dreams, and that will go back, sealed back into the capsule and it will be opened again in 2093.”
Event sponsors stress the importance of preserving the memory of the helium plant and those who worked there and continued education about the noble gas that enriches our region.
“It’s been relisted as a strategic mineral and it’s used in so many different applications, high-tech, technology, computers, lasers, on and on and on,” Burton added. “Very vital element that we use every day.”
Dr. Pan said artifacts from the 1968 time capsule will be on display at DHDC through the fall and winter, and those who wish to place items in the time capsule to be opened in 2093 have until October 5.